In an exciting turn of events that ushers in the Independence Day holiday week, Brad Keselowski hoisted the American Flag as he took his victory lap Saturday night at the running of the Quaker State 400 from Kentucky Speedway.

Starting in his back-up car after hitting the wall on the first lap of practice, Keselowski could have had a challenging night. Instead he becomes the first driver of 2012 to earn three wins.

Kyle Busch tried to repeat his dominating performance of the year before, but Keselowski would have none of it. Busch, hitting the wall after the halfway mark, faded finishing tenth and Keselowski, running strongly the entire night, was able to seal the deal for the win.

Kasey Kahne had a strong night for his team and Hendrick Motor Sports (HMS) finishing second. Denny Hamlin, battling a downed tire at the end of the race, brought home third. Dale Earnhardt Jr. erased the break of his momentum that occurred in Sonoma with a fourth at Kentucky. Jeff Gordon, Earnhardt Jr.’s and Kahne’s teammate at HMS stable ran fifth.

Five-time Sprint Cup champion and man on the move Jimmie Johnson was the lowest performing HMS driver with a sixth place finish in the race. Matt Kenseth, headline maker before the weekend began for the bombshell that he was leaving Roush-Fenway Racing and Ford, held the seventh spot despite an ill-handling car. Martin Truex Jr. brought Michael Waltrip Racing another top 10 finish with eighth. A.J. Allmendiner was ninth and the aforementioned Kyle Busch was tenth.

Matt Kenseth holds on to the NASCAR Sprint Cup points lead for another week. He leads Dale Earnhardt Jr. who ascends one spot by 11 points. Jimmie Johnson moved up one place taking third. Greg Biffle fell two spots to fourth due to his 21st place finish in the race. Denny Hamlin leapt three positions to occupy fifth.

Kevin Harvick, 11th in the race, and Clint Bowyer, 16th, remain in the sixth and seventh spots respectively. Martin Truex Jr. moved up one place to eighth. Tony Stewart who ran a disappointing race at Kentucky and finished 32nd tumbled four positions to ninth. Despite his win, Brad Keselowski stays entrenched in tenth for another week.

The race to the Chase is in full speed and each week brings new drama to the table.

Next week the action returns to Daytona for the running of the Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola, or the Firecracker 400 as I still insist on calling this race that occupies a slot in the Fourth of July festivities. The race will be run on Saturday night, July 7th with coverage starting at 6:30pm EST on TNT.

Enjoy the race but remember to return here for my race recap.

Happy Independence Day to you all!

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Candice Smith is a writer, columnist, and blogger as well as creator of the widely popular Chief 187™ Chatter. Her works have been featured under the pen name Chief 187™ around the Internet including a syndicated post within the Indie Republic Network where she has conducted in-depth interviews with musicians, Mixed Martial Artists, and other personalities as well as waxes poetic on myriad topics. Candice Smith is currently writing her second season of her original column “Why I Love NASCAR” by Chief 187™ on Skirts and Scuffs. Additionally, another of her NASCAR columns can be found at She also contributes articles and NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Recaps weekly at She began her Internet writing career at where she honed her blogging skills and reawakened her love of NASCAR. Candice Smith can be heard on air four times a week co-hosting motorsports programs on Internet radio as well as her own racing show “Drafting the Circuits” on She can be reached via Twitter by following @Chief187s. To find out more please visit